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tv   Countdown With Keith Olbermann  MSNBC  January 19, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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thought joe klein wrote this book. but i wouldn't say to him, as a friend, did you write this book. if he put anonous out there -- >> there's a moral argument for that. >> so much for the rules of authorship. richard wolffe, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you, lawrence o'donnell. >> that's the last word. you can follow us on msnbc.com and facebook and twitter. "countdown" is up next. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? as public support for full health care reform repeal bottoms out at 18%, the republicans vote to do it anyway. >> some in the cynical, political class are saying this is a gimmick. it's an empty gesture. well, we have another term for it on our side. it's a promise kept. >> a promise kept to deliver gimmicks and empty gestures. yeah! >> i want to just advise people
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at home playing the now popular drinking game of take a shot when the republicans say something that's not true please assign a designated driver. this will be a long afternoon. >> our guests, congresswoman anthony weiner and health care industry whistleblower and hero wendell potter. gabby giffords, joy and fear. her move to a brain injury rehab center could come as early as friday. her fear of all of this revealed by her husband. >> she says, you know, some day i'm really worried that somebody's going to come up to me with a gun. >> she said that? >> oh, yeah. we have talked about it probably, you know, ten times. >> the end of the line for joe lieberman, self-described moderate democrat. don't let the delusional liar door hit you in the butt on the delusional liar way out. >> maybe that means that jfk wouldn't fit neatly into any of today's partisan, political
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boxes either. >> senator, i know of jack kennedy, and you're no jack kennedy. the economy, cured. the blessed relief of the miracle that is the republican congress. >> and we can get our economy growing and we have gotten positive numbers. i think it's in large part because we won the majority and we are pursuing pro-growth policies. >> thank you absorbed republican. and college, the learning years. maybe not. new study as freshman and sophomores 45% of college students make no significant improvement reasoning or writing. after graduation it's still 36%. >> seven years of college down the drain. >> all the news and commentary now on "countdown". >> i'm a zit! get it? >> good evening from new york. this is wednesday, january 19, 657 days until the 2012
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presidential election. the public support for a repeal of health care reform now down to 18%. in a new washington post/abc news poll republicans platform dived today into six inches of water in which the base now slowly dries. the gop-led house passing the repealing the job killing health care law act by a vote of 245 to 189. that's all the republican house members plus three democrats. mike ross of arkansas, mike mcintire of north carolina and dan born of oklahoma, all three opponents of the health care bill last year and bowling alley operators by 2013. having voted to repeal health care reform though the senate will not, the president would veto, republicans move on to trying to repeal the 1992 elections, the popularity of ellen degeneres and monday mornings. speaker boehner and cantor calling this replacing it with common sense reforms. both boehner and cantor trying
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to jedi mind trick harry reid to get the senate to vote on repeal. cantor becoming an advocate for filibuster reform. >> i've got a problem with the assumption here that somehow the senate can be a place for legislation to go into a cul-de-sac or a dead end. i think the american people deserve to see a vote in the senate and the senate ought not be a place that legislation goes into a dead end. >> these are not the droids you're looking for. mr. cantor's party knows about a dead end senate. there was a filibuster 136 times in 2009-2010, blocking most of the democratic legislative agenda. back to the house where republicans made health care repeal a priority of its new congress and now that they passed repeal they can -- they can -- anyone? anyone? boehner? boehner? >> we'll have a resolution tomorrow instructing committees to have a replacement.
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i don't know that we need artificial deadlines set up for the committees to act. >> meaning they've got nothing. with no replacement for the bill they repealed, house committees will start drafting new measures for their government takeover of health care tomorrow with instructions from the speaker to hand in homework whenever they damn well feel like it. marcia blackburn of tennessee meanwhile plans to introduce replacement legislation tomorrow. her office would not release the details to us. blackburn told fox news it will focus on tort reform and allowing insurance purchases across state lines, which will really help the insurance industry. but as polling continues to show public resistance to repeal democrats are showcasing the benefits of health care reform. numbers cited in the last two days of debate in the house. more than 4 million medicare beneficiaries receiving $250 rebate check this is year. more than 4 million small businesses receiving tax credits this year.
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2 million uninsured children protected from being denied health care for pre-existing conditions. nearly two and a half million young adults covered under their parents' plans until age 26. with the facts and polls on their side house democrats were emboldened today. anthony weiner of new york and congressman george miller of california among the most vocal defenders of the affordable care act. >> many on the other side of the aisle said that is bureaucrat system. has anybody, any family in america, any single mother, any spouse, any child, any grandparent met a more bureaucratic system than the american health insurance system? there is no more bureaucratic system. when you send in your premium they tell you you sent it the wrong place. send in the bill, you send toyota the wrong person.
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when you send it to the right person, they tell you the person left their job. when you say, i went to the doctor they say you should have called us first. i had emergency surgery, you should have called us. we're not covering it. talk about bureaucracy. that's why the legislation is growing in popularity. >> first they make stuff up. you have to wonder if they read the bill. 130,000 new agencies, not true. new irs agents, not true. death panels, not true. members aren't covered, not true. no tort reform in it, not true. i want to just advise people watching at home playing the now popular drinking game of take a shot when the republicans say something untrue, please assign a designated driver. this is going to be a long afternoon. >> and now here is representative anthony weiner, the democrat of the new york 9th. good evening. >> good evening. >> i know you were kidding about that and you also seemed to be standing so i'm assuming you didn't participate. >> i'm not encouraging anyone to drink. if you were keeping track you heard doozies from the republicans today.
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>> has anybody told them that the polling on this hated bill is now -- the whole thing is now roughly 50/50 and that latest number on repealing the whole thing is down to 18% who want to see it fully repealed? does anybody on the republican side know the two facts? >> well, it seems to me that a lot of them have not made the transition from the campaign when everything was government takeover and the like. they don't realize they are the majority party and they have to governing. perhaps the most preposterous part is what you pointed out in your topper. they said, we'll repeal this and then get to our ideas. but they have no idea what they are. that's the challenge. also something else interesting on the floor today. more than a few times they said, oh, we like stopping people from being kicked off for pre-existing conditions. we like that you are covering the doughnut hole, that young people are getting insurance, but we are still going to repeal it. the fact is i believe the republicans haven't read the
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bill. we should chant at them "read the bill." then they will realize the damage they're doing. >> i'm wondering if it is being posited to them, you mentioned they are in charge of the house now and thus acting on health care reform of their own. has it been suggested that what they are proposing is their own government takeover of health care? >> well, that's right. let's remember something here. the republican party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. just about every bit they read off a piece of paper, every time they show up in the morning they think how do we help out the insurance industry. sooner or later that will run them off a cliff. they have to understand something. at the end of the day what we have done with the health care plan they are trying to overturn is provide americans subsidies to buy private insurance plans. this idea that it is a government takeover of anything, in fact, this is a proposal that republicans originally came up with. the idea of helping people buy insurance. i was never crazy about the idea but the idea that this is a
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socialist coup couldn't be further from the truth. >> today each time a republican stood up a democrat followed and aggressively contradicted them with facts and hard facts. using aggressive tactics, facts and really standing behind this bill and what you passed last year, why the change in democratic strategy? where did this backbone from your colleagues come from and why wasn't it there a year ago? >> if only we'd thought of it last year. >> seriously. >> i agree with you. i think we had an exaggerated sense of confidence that once the bill becomes law people stop lying about it. uh-uh. they double down. i heard someone say yesterday on a show that it's going to cost $1.2 trillion when the cbo said it will save $1.2 trillion. it's almost as if there is more and more of the lie machine going on all at once here.
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what's happening, and the polls are showing, the american people are starting to see the benefit. i think if people have a choice between repeal and replace and implement and improve they choose the latter every time. they understand that's how policy is made. >> repeal and replace is at 18% now. so i think that fight has already been won and decided. congressman weiner, always a pleasure. >> thank you. >> let's bring in wendell potter, vice president of sigthat now at the center for integrity. his book is "deadly spin." how corporate pr is killing health care and deceiving americans. thank you for your time. >> thank you, keith. >> there has to be more to what the house republicans are doing than political self-massage. from what you know of the health care industry, what is this today in washington really about. >> this is a big smoke screen. there is no chance this will be repealed and they have been telling their republican friends to go through the motions you need to do this to satisfy those who voted for you after being fooled that it was a government
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takeover. what's going on, why it is a smoke screen is the lobbyists are meeting with their newly elected members of congress saying what you need to do is keep the law intact except strip out the consumer protections and the new regulations that we don't like. >> are the republicans also essentially proxies for what the industry would normally be doing in terms of complaint and protest and the fake grassroots movements? the entire health care industry, particularly insurance, has been really quiet while republicans have been making noise. >> right. it's part of the strategy. it was part of the strategy during the debate. they have a bifurcated strategy of saying things that people want to hear and then behind the scenes doing something entirely different. that's going on here except this time they can't speak out at all. they can't say they are opposed to repeal because their republican friends are doing this.
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they are opposed to it because the individual mandate is so essential to them to be able to survive. so that's what's going on. they are staying quiet because of that. they are giving talking points to their friends right now and they are equipping them with talking points as they move off the smokescreen into something substantive later. >> you would never want to bet on congresswoman blackburn in a clash of wits but there is a component that i think is big in her proposal not to go back to the old status quo but the old status quo and add tort reform and this premise of selling health care across state lines. explain the across state lines jazz, please. i think i know which of the scams this one is but you're the expert. >> first of all, congresswoman blackburn is someone i know from my days in the industry. she's a go-to person to get things done for the industry. always reliable. i know that from personal experience. selling policies across state lines is something they want.
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it would enable them to circumvent all state regulation. they could sell junk policies like they are doing now but they wouldn't have regulation. marcia and her colleagues will be equipped with new talking points to make us think we can buy cheaper policies. the problem is the stuff that we'll be buying will often just be junk insurance. >> as you have been touring the country, what are the audiences you have been addressing telling you about the health care system in this country as it was and as it is becoming now? >> you know, what i'm hearing is bearing out the poll results you cited. people are coming to, at long last, understand some of the benefits in the law that they don't want repealed. there still is resistance to the mandate which is the insurance industry's favorite thing. they know a lot of the practice of the industry has to be made illegal and the bill does it. they are becoming aware of some benefits to them as consumers.
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i'm seeing growing understanding of the legislation and growing support for it. >> wendell potter of the center for public integrity. great thanks and particularly for your insight on congresswoman blackburn tonight. thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> congresswoman giffords today stood up, but the fear with which she lived related by her husband that every day in office she risked being shot. that and more breaking news on this subject. the man accused of shooting her is tonight indicted. all of that next. when you're responsible for this much of the team, you need a car you can count on.
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breaking news tonight. jared loughner indicted in tucson in the shootings there. this as the right wing rationalization that she wasn't scared didn't have security is rebutted by her husband who revealed she was very scared. lying on the way out the door. he was a moderate democrat and today says jfk might be a republican. did you know the economy is all better? that's because he and his fellow republicans in the house fixed it.
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and what higher thought skills students learn in college. the answer is almost none.
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right now, all over the country discover customers are getting five percent cashback bonus on travel. it pays to switch, it pays to discover. federal grand jury in tucson has this evening returned an initial three-count indictment against jared lee loughner. one count of the attempted assassination of congresswoman giffords. the two others for the attempted murder of federal employees, ron barber and pamela simon. three counts, not five as identified in the original complaint. justice department expected to bring the other two original counts and seek the death penalty. meantime the doctors treating congresswoman giffords are just about out of superlatives.
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she stood today on her own two feet looking out at the mountains. as her mother revealed on monday in an e-mail as her husband showed her an e-mail she reached up from the bed and started to scroll through the pictures. she may be transferred out of the hospital for special treatment. what her husband tells us about her fears of attack. health first. according to a press release the congresswoman is expected to move friday, january 21 to tirr memorial herman rehab hospital in houston. because this is a fluid situation the exact day of the move will depend on her health. the rehab facility is where kevin everett of the buffalo bills was treated after a life-threatening spinal cord injury in 2007. once paralyzed, he can now walk. turns out the heartbreak and terror of gabby giffords' husband mark kelly was about as total as you can imagine. for 15 minutes he believed what he heard and saw reported in the media.
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he believed his wife was dead. today, footage from multiple cameras is providing new details of the shooting. richard castagar, chief of investigations from the pima sheriff's department, describing the footage which will not be released as graphic. he said it shows loughner approaching the congresswoman with significant purpose and shooting her at a distance of two to three feet. the investigator said the footage shows judge john roll may have given his own life to save the life of the gifford staffer ron barber. >> it's my estimation that the judge really, i think, offers himself and helps a friend or colleague by pushing him under the table. in doing so he exposes his back to the shooter. the shooter does then shoot him in the back. >> judge roll was killed. barber, shot twice, survived. congresswoman giffords is now the last hospitalized victim in tucson. her husband said she was often fearful of what happened two
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saturdays ago. >> she said some day i'm worried somebody will come up to me at one of these events with a gun. >> she said that? >> oh, yeah. i mean, she said it -- i mean, we have talked about it probably, you know, ten times. >> mark kelly who as you surely know is an astronaut said he does not believe the current political climate is to blame for the shooting. he says, the people who do these things are sick and disturbed but he believed now the climate could be improved. >> this is an opportunity. opportunity to make things better. get rid of the heated, angry rhetoric. maybe it's time to just tone it down, try to get back to a better place. >> talk about that. a pleasure to be joined by representative keith ellison of minnesota. good evening. >> good evening, keith. >> apparently your colleague gabby giffords was living in regular fear of the threat of violence. do you think her situation is
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unique in congress? >> you know, i think that all of us understand that there are risks attendant to the job. also risks attendant to the jobs that our staffs do. we do this because we serve the community and care about our neighbors and want to make our country better, but there is no doubt about it. you know, all of us do deal with the fact that there are people out there who would harm us and yet we know our men and women in uniform face way more harm every day. so we do it with a degree of understanding that, you know, there are people who make even greater sacrifices. >> if you don't want to address this in any specificity, i think i will -- the audience will understand if you don't want to address it at all. but if you want to tell or discuss how regularly or at all do you or your office receive threats of violence? >> well, i'm happy to report that direct threats of violence
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are pretty rare. we don't get them every day or even every week. when people say, i'm going to kill you. we do get them. but they're fairly rare. but hostile, threatening stuff comes in through the fax, e-mail or mail every day. it is surprising that people will spout such amazing levels of hostility to people they don't even know. the thing is gabby giffords is one of the sweetest, most loving people i have had a chance ever to meet. she's a kind person and a good, decent person. why anybody, particularly this fellow, loughner, would want to harm her is beyond my imagination. but i think nearly every member of congress, it gets to be the target of somebody's hostility and it's really not warranted based on anything. >> do you think -- we haven't
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had a chance to talk about this. do you think that whether or not the climate had anything to do with what this man's motivations were, that the climate you just described and how often you get these threatening tones if not direct threats need -- is being fed by political rhetoric at this point and needs to be toned down? >> in my opinion, the vituperative, toxic language we throw around on a routine basis not to mention language and displays and depictions contribute in a negative way. now, i don't think there is necessarily a causal link to be made. nor do i think anyone has said there was a direct link. but i do think -- i mean, again, you know, even if there is no causal link can we stop talking about reloading and armed and dangerous and can we stop putting bulls' eyes on districts? can we stop that? nobody's asking folks to shelf
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their firmly held passion and beliefs. by all means let's debate health care and taxes and afghanistan and everything else. but some of this rhetoric around guns and stuff like that is over the top. i hope we stop it. i hope this is an occasion to knock it off. >> lastly, you had a congress on your corner event to honor what representative giffords was doing in her event. we have the footage of the police presence there. was that normal for one of your events? >> no, it's not normal. actually, i'm very proud of our members of law enforcement in minneapolis. but it wasn't how we normally do it. i do public access events all the time. i called this one congress on your corner because that's what gabby called hers. we wanted to honor her and we do. i was glad they were there. it was a signal to everybody else that was coming -- staff, people, citizens who just wanted to talk that they would be safe. so i was very happy they were there.
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on an average basis they wouldn't be there, but they are minneapolis's finest and we are proud of them. >> congressman, thanks for your forthrightness on this difficult topic. >> any time, keith. >> then there are politician who sail through public life untouched which is fortunate, which is the way it should be unless what they are untouched by is reality. tonight, good-bye joe lieberman and good riddance. whoa! that achy cold needs alka-seltzer plus! it rushes multiple cold fighters, plus a powerful pain reliever, wherever you need it! [ both ] ♪ oh what a relief it is! >> man: diving to 4,000 meters. >> boy: go down, down, down. down. straight. go straight. no, to the right. to the right. >> go to the right, go to the right. >> whoa! >> whoa! >> what is that? >> man: well, that's a, uh... i don't know. >> whoa. >> can we call him blinky?
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joe lieberman will not run again, reveals he's been living in a dream world in which a senator who endorsed a presidential nominee is a moderate democrat. let's look ahead a week and a day. birthdays on january 27, mozart, alan cumming, bridget fonda and roberts, nick mason and margo timmons. comedian and actor patton oswald, the creator of can chipmunks, chris rose, jack hailey and me, all of whom worked together in the same office a decade ago. that was some january 27. let's play "oddball." we begin on the internet with a new perspective on things in case you want to know what an arrow sees when it's shot. here you go. let go, buddy. whee! the arrow travels 475 feet in a
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little under five seconds, twisting and turning, finally hitting the target bringing the adventure to a striking conclusion. the video gives the idea of being straight as an arrow a new turn. we find the trend of driving into convenience scores is catching on. nobody hurt but it allows me to say that driver must have been in a hurry to get a slushy joke. the car is a mercedes this time. usually it's a minivan, sedan. luxury car? no. i mean, luxury cars have features to prevent this like the self-parking -- oh, i see now. dateline, columbia, south carolina, a robbery in progress. suspect says he has a gun and attempts to walk around the corner when the clerk uses the old approach by taking out his sword he keeps under the counter. apparently the suspect reminded him of buck henry. the clerk used the blade to
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chase the crook out of the store and club him. the suspect was later apprehended by police. after seeing this many stores in the area have adopted this cutting-edge security. time marches on. the departure of joe lieberman following by his departure from reality. somewhere in america, there's a doctor who can peer into the future. there's a nurse who can access in an instant every patient's past. and because the whole hospital's working together, there's a family who can breathe easy, right now. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest healthcare questions.
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royal caribbean international. visit royalcaribbean.com today. in his news conference today announcing his retirement at the end of his term, independent, senator joe lieberman looked back on 40 years of american history and remarked on the tapestry of achievements accomplished by -- joe lieberman. a third story tonight his self eulogy was not only free of error, footprint of misstep he blamed for anything and everything that went wrong the rest of the country. but mostly the democrats. his signature failure as cheerleader of the lies that let mr. bush go into iraq got just one mention.
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blink and you will miss it. he characterizes iraq as part of strong american foreign policy. >> i'm also proud of the opportunity i have had to work across party lines in support of the strong bipartisan american foreign and defense policies carried out by the four presidents under whom i have been privileged to serve. presidents bush, clinton, bush and obama. which included policies that ousted the invading iraqi military from kuwait, ended the genocide of muslims in the balkans and liberated iraq, afghanistan and the world from brutally repressive anti-american dictatorships. >> he also compared himself -- and a quick warning to viewers who are eating -- to jfk. >> the politics of president kennedy, patriotic service to country, support of civil right
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and social justice, pro-growth economic and tax policies and a strong national defense are still my politics. so maybe that means that jfk wouldn't fit neatly into any of today's partisan, political boxes either. >> note the dig at the democrats there, too. mr. lieberman saying they are either anti-civil rights, anti-growth or weak on defense. as far as his civil rights record he was rightly praised for helping to repeal don't ask, don't tell in the senate. civil rights for muslims on the other hand? unlike jfk, mr. lieberman supported the american government tossing muslim suspects into detention denying them miranda rights, stripping then of basic civil rights. unlike jfk, on tax policy he supported taxing the rich at the lowest rates they could get, about half of the 65% rate favored by president kennedy.
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for more on his parting claim that the fault lies not in him but in us we have dave weigel. good evening. >> good evening. >> mr. lieberman's standard is that he was on domestic except for school vouchers, gay marriage, home land security, medicare buy-in, privatizing social and tort reform. did i leave anything off the list? >> that was almost complete. you may have left off in 2006 when he opposed a bill in connecticut that would have forced all hospitals to treat rape victims even if they were seen to be ovulating. catholic hospitals were against it. he took the side of them and said, in connecticut it's only a short ride to the next hospital in case you are going to one of these hospitals that doesn't allow you to get the treatment you need. add it to the list and you have a comprehensive list of reasons
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why liberals didn't like him. >> the senator's narrative seems to be american politics changed around him. if anything, hasn't the democratic party moved closer to his positions. at least his most recent positions? why suggest to the rest of the country except him has changed? why suggest we all screwed up while he was joe terrific? >> well, it's hard to think of positions he remained consistent on throughout his career except for the foreign policy positions. on those the democratic party was one place in 1988 and is one place now. he didn't change that much. in 1988, he won with the support of conservatives who, like him, didn't want to normalize trade relations with cuba. he ran from the right on foreign policy on cuba. that's something some democrats support but in the iraq war the first gulf war, the iraq war in a lot of cases he was to the right of democrats. on other things he was malleable. the problem you saw a lot of
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democrats express with lieberman in the last six years especially was that it was hard to predict where he would come on an issue unless you start assuming out of spite he would oppose what democrats wanted. it's hard to think of a reason why he opposed the medicare buy-in except that democrats supported it. he used to support it and flipped. >> to that point by many accounts his habit of crossing the aisles had less to do with bridge building and more about how much he enjoyed being the pivot point on deals. how much of the career tack was this great, noble opinion being or formula being maintained and how much of it was just personal opportunism? >> there was a degree of opportunism. republicans used to notice this. in 2000, republicans criticized lieberman because they saw a democrat who was with them on a couple of social issues who criticized bill clinton during the lewinsky scandal who was with them on school vouchers and flipped.
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in 2006, from the point he lost the primary onward there were things liberals thought they could trust him on that he flipped on. unions supported lieberman and became disappointed because it looked like the north star of his political critique, ideology was getting even with liberals who betrayed him. he was -- i'm not sure if he did in the end. he was not that supportive of richard blumenthal's senate race and the reason was he had opposed lieberman in 2006 because he wasn't a democratic nominee. in a lot of cases, he will leave a record of accomplishments. he took the lead on don't ask, don't tell, but that was a revealing moment today. he took the lead on getting votes to repeal don't ask, don't tell. john mccain opposed don't ask, don't tell. john mccain today said obama should appoint joe lieberman as defense secretary.
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there is commonality between politicians whose most fervent beliefs are the ones related to their own ego is the wrong word. but their own political power and their enemies list. lieberman and mccain may be among those politicians. >> the term is log rolling. >> log rolling. >> thank you, dave. >> thank you. >> if you thought my sign-off about mr. boehner where are the jobs were stupid and premature wait until you hear this republican claiming credit for fixing the economy. and 36% of students get through four years of college without improving critical reading or complex reasoning skills but beer pong, 100% improvement. when rachel joins you at the top of the hour, is it tougher to pass stricter gun laws? [ male announcer ] this is lara.
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this republican congressman is patting his party on the back for the economy's positive numbers. i think it's in large part because we won our majority. particular interest to him perhaps a new study showing you
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may learn a lot of things in college but critical thinking and telling the difference between fact and opinion no longer appear to be among them. when i grow up, i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to work with kids. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. thanks, mom. i just want to get my car back. [ female announcer ] together we can discover the best of what's next at aarp.org. [ male announcer ] debating is part of the american fabric. it is who we are and what makes us great. we debate politics. we debate sports. we debate art. and we debate debates. ♪
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but when it comes to cars... the debate...is over. the 2011 s-class. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. it was inevitable given the gop's magical thinking. republicans are beginning to take credit for the economy improving though they claim the majority in the house only 44 days ago even though they have passed nothing except for new rules making it easier to
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balloon the deficit and today's repeal of health care. congressman david drier of california while insisting a couple of days ago republicans did care about a replacement for the health care law advanced this whopper. >> and we can get our economy growing and we have gotten positive numbers. i think it's in large part because we won our majority and we are pursuing pro-growth policies. >> we'll return to the claim in a moment. but the prize for sheer audacity goes to jon kyl when he opined about big profits for 2010 quoting some of the results i suspect are coming from the fact that we extended tax rates that the president didn't want to extend but was willing to at the end of the year last year. the president signed the bipartisan tax cut package on december 17 with extensions of existing tax breaks and brand new tax breaks affecting the year 2011 and beyond. senator kyl is claiming that corporate profits were way up in 2010 in part because of a tax
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package that had nothing to do with 2010. before president obama agreed to the tax package republicans were constantly carping about uncertainty and its effect on business yet all the way up until december 17th of last year corporate america managed to endure all the uncertainty and reap massive profits as well. now back to the congressman. same issue but broader. yes, there have been additional positive economic indicators. labor department announced private sector job growth had been increasing since the fall more than expected just as consumer spending rose in the third quarter of last year at its quickest pace since 2006. third quarter means july through september of last year, which is well before the republicans took over much less passed anything just as home sales surged in october, again pre-republican glow which must have been transmitted backwards in some republican party time machine. well, at least there is the next generation of college graduates to be smarter and more
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after having gone to a high school where each week we had to write a three to five-page essay in 15 minutes, i was expecting a little more out of college. on my first day at cornell in a secretary of defense-level shakespeare class, i was surprised first to hear the professor berate us, then surprised more to hear him warn us we were in college now, no more of the high school crap. then surprised again to hear him assign us three, three-page papers to be written over the course of the following four months. as i thought, you want them thursday? a girl across from me in the
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room got white as a sheet and began to wobble in her chair. after class i asked her what was wrong. and she said that in high school she had never written anything longer than three paragraphs and she was now an english major. this was 1975. then i thought our educational system had hit the basement. from a new study comes an indication that that was the golden era, and the girl across the room from me in goldwin smith hall now be considered today a genius. the study is in a book called "academically adrift." they studied 2,300 undergrads at two dozen universities. during the first two years of college, 45% of students, quote, demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning and written communications. 36% show that same lack of improvement upon graduation. but perhaps students would learn more if professors asked more of them. half of the students surveyed said they had not taken a single course that required more than
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20 pages of writing during the whole previous semester. one-third said not one class required more than 40 pages of reading per week. the study also found that many students graduated without knowing how to differentiate fact from opinion, which leads us back to the 112th congress and chair of the subcommittee on higher education of life-long earning and competitiveness. virginia fox of north carolina. that virginia fox. the virginia fox who once said americans had more to fear from health care reform than from terrorism. she is now in charge of a panel, charged with improving our nation's halls of knowledge. the lack of analysis going on in the halls of academia, one of the stars of cinematic titanic. thanks for your time tonight. >> thank you for having me, keith. >> i will ask you this question. first posed by one astute and famous yale graduate. is our children learning?
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>> that's very hard to say. i'll just put a positive spin on it, if i could. >> that's okay. >> i live and work in -- yeah, i live and work in hollywood, and we depend on the low standards of young people to fuel our economy. so this isn't all bad news completely. and i think the deepest philosophical question that a lot of the kids today are asking is, what would snooki do? >> well, she wrote a book, or at least put her name on a book, at least has handled a book after it was published for her. at least something in snooki. >> i wanted to raise the level of this conversation by bringing a novelist into it. so thank you. >> excellent. that, or maler, we couldn't decide which one. the majority of the week was either partying or sleeping.
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and they got gpas, and average gpa was 3.2. how in the hell does that work? i feel ripped off somehow. >> i know. i know. this is kind of a golden age of slacking that we missed out on. and just to be positive again, i will say that if they're socializing and partying 85% of the time, that means they're only hung over 15% of the time. so that's something hopeful. >> if one can graduate without being able to separate fact from fiction, which is an extraordinary thought, is it possible that the sociologists who did this study, studied not college students, but in fact were looking at viewers of fox news? >> well, yeah. i mean, fox news is kind of the ultimate mecca for a lot of the kids i'm sure. a fantasy land where you get paid a lot of money and you don't have to do any homework.
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although i did hear that fox is trying to raise its intelligence level a bit. they just hired as a new host of fox and friends a bag of rocks. so that should raise the level of discourse. although steve is dumber than it so he's a little intimidating. >> his name is ducci. just a little something in your teeth there. >> okay. >> there was a conservative blog, the title is not intentionally ironic, that published this study, or referred to it as proof of academic brainwashing. they noted the lack of critical thinking skills, the reason college kids go gaga over obama. how would they explain the tea party or in fact lady gaga? >> well, the tea party doesn't so much evoke college as it does a really bad shop class, where all the projects are done really poorly. and i think a lot of these
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conservative attitudes about colleges in general, i mean, they don't just think that harvard and yale are elite, they think devrys training institute is elite. it's an uphill battle for any kind of education, i guess. >> to that point, is there some expectation here that former governor palin will interpret the stats as some sort of indication that the fancy book learning doesn't pay off and you might as well go to five different colleges because you get five different t-shirts that way? >> well, first of all, any kind of book learning is fancy book learning. as far as she's concerned. but i think we should also point out that palin is an example that it's not just enough to be dumb, to make it in -- on the national political stage, you also have to be a resentful crybaby and a narcissist. and if any of these kids knew what narcissist meant, that might mean something.

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